I was completely pathetic after the breakup. Still pinning for her. She wanted nothing to do with me. “Don’t contact me for 6 months” she said.
I flew to Europe to get away. Spending time abroad would make things better. It didn’t. I was hopelessly lovesick. Co-dependant. I couldn’t enjoy my time. I didn’t sleep well. “We’re gonna get back together” I thought.
I didn’t date after our breakup
The thought of seeing someone else felt like cheating. Plus I don’t date. It’s either casual sex or long term relationship. There’s no middle ground for me.
I flew back after a few weeks in Europe. Athens to San Francisco on British Airways. Overnight layover in Miami. Somehow I was upgraded to First Class. That’s a first. Pajamas and warmed nuts. And pretty flight attendants.
She was Czech
We flirted. She had a cute outfit on; I was in my PJs. We made plans to meet up in Miami Beach. I had an overnight layover and she had 36 hours off.
I hung out with her and her flight attendant friends for a bit. They drank beer; I had soda water. We ended up in her hotel room at the Sheraton.
The sex was OK but I wasn’t present
I kept on thinking about my ex, feeling like I was cheating on her. How fucked up is that? We’d been broken up for months but it felt wrong. I hadn’t let her go. Not at all.
I went through the motions. I’d been here before. Detached sex. Not fun. Not connected. Sex for the sake of sex.
I left at 5AM to catch my connection. We exchanged email addresses and a goodbye kiss. I’d never even checked into my airport hotel.
A few weeks later I received an email from her. She’d had a really nice time. She wanted to add me as her travel companion.
Free flights and business class upgrades on British Airways
I just had to pay flight taxes. “We don’t have to travel together” she wrote. “Use the flights whenever you want and we can meet up every now and then”.
I flagged the email as something I would respond to later. Weeks went by and I never replied. It felt shitty. I couldn’t be honest with her.
I was still in love with my ex. She wouldn’t want me back if she found out I had accepted to be someones travel companion after having had sex with them. Talk about not living in the present. Talk about twisted and wishful thinking. Thinking that we’d get back together if only I acted a certain way.
I didn’t want ‘strings’
I thought accepting her offer would come with expectations. Expectations that we’d sleep together when we met up in Iceland, or the Congo (British Airways does fly to the Congo by the way).
I barely knew her. I was in it for the sex. And the experience. Whenever I’m in it for the sex, there’s rarely a chance of a lasting connection. I probably didn’t want to have sex with her again. I rarely do after the first night.
We’d only spent a few hours together
She didn’t know anything about the ex. She probably wouldn’t have cared. We barely knew each other.
Maybe she was just happy extending her travel benefits without expectations. What if she just wanted someone to travel with every now and then?
I’ll never know because I never replied.
What a fool. I’d unlocked the holy grail of free airline travel and I’d turned it down.
What I could have done
I’ve spent many hours thinking about what I could have done differently. Here’s what I came up with.
- Be honest. Talk to her. The easiest solution is often the hardest. I could have asked her what her expectations were instead of guessing. How often did she want to meet up? Would she be OK with us not sleeping together when we did see each other?
- Live in the present. I was so concerned about the future that I wasn’t living in the present. Terrified that my ex wouldn’t take me back if she found out. She didn’t take me back anyway! Living in the future prevented me from having an interesting experience. It prevent me from facing my fears. Instead of confronting this situation, I hid behind my fear.
- Replied. I could have simply replied. I could have told her I really appreciated the offer but wasn’t in a position to accept it. That I had a really nice time with her. Thanks but no thanks. Or accepted her generous offer and played the whole situation by ear. Or told her that I’d think about it. Basically any reply would have been better and more respectful than no reply.
But I didn’t do any of those things and so I’ll continue to request an exit row seat – what I call ‘Mini Business Class’ – and pack my salad like I’ve always done.
Shaun Galanos is the The Love Drive. He lives and writes in Montreal.